Rise review by Skillet

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  • Released: Jun 25, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 6.7 (98 votes)
Skillet: Rise
0

Sound — 7
Christian rock band Skillet have been playing the music scene since the late '90s. Their hardcore sound, similar to those formed around the peak of the grunge rock music era, immediately caught the ears of metalheads, and following the release of their self-titled debut album in 1996 Skillet began to build a worldwide fan following. Since their debut, the band has gone on to release a total of now nine studio albums, and it wasn't until most recently that Skillet's music has started to received considerable recognition. Their 2006's album "Comatose" showed the band significantly lowering the use of synthesizers and bringing the heavily distorted guitars higher in the mix. It was this seemingly simple change in musical composition that broadened their audience, and following its release soon charted Gold and was even nominated for a Grammy award.

Their latest, titled "Awake," showed the band staying consistent to this preset pace, and was certified Platinum, as well as won multiple prestigious awards. And with their new studio album, "Rise," fans will find Skillet revisiting some of their earlier elements, while also staying in the direction more evidently showcased in their past two records. The opening track, which also bears the same name as the album, is a mix of early and more recent Skillet, with broad orchestrations, synthesizer playing, raging lead vocals and broad vocal harmonies. From a musical standpoint, the new album heavily resembles the sound of bands such as Flyleaf and Paramore, mostly because of the dueling screaming male vocals and soaring female backup singing. Overall, I felt that the album failed to meet its preset expectations, but still was a very good album that fans of the genre and the band should be able to appreciate.

Lyrics — 5
Lead singer John Cooper is most frequently featured throughout the new album, while drummer Jen Ledger is found popping up seemingly from nowhere at times with her backup singing that doesn't work too well with the piece as a whole. I would have liked to have more consistent mix between the two vocalists throughout the new album, I feel as though that would have greatly benefited the album from a musical standpoint. Lyrically I found Skillet's new album very lacking. As shown throughout such songs as the aforementioned title track, the vocalists simply repeat one phrase over and over again in the chorus, such as "Rise / Rise and revolution / Rise / Rise and revolution." When instrumentally the songs were enjoyable to listen to, lyrically they held the entire piece back, and this prevents the entire album from being able to easily transition from song-to-song when the lyrics are a consistently weak factor.

Overall Impression — 7
With "Rise," Skillet give a commendable performance as part as the actual music goes, by combining the synthesizer elements of their earlier work with the most recent guitar oriented style showcased in their past two studio albums, most likely in an effort to keep up their current RIAA certified album streak. While instrumentally the album is standout and enjoyable to listen to, the repetitive lyrics and out-of-place backup singing are an unignorable factor that holds back the entire album. This album comes recommended to established Skillet fans, as well as general fans of the alternative metal genre. If you can look past its lyrical side, then "Rise" will be an album you'll find yourself going back to listen to time and time again.

62 comments sorted by best / new / date

    crazysam23_Atax
    I agree that the lyrics are weak. However, to me, their lyrics have always been weak. For some reason, I've always had a soft spot for this band though.
    Lancer506
    Yeah, I really loved Comatose. But this new song really makes me hurt inside. It was kind of hoping for more of the metal, and less of the christian side. Then again, this is coming from the atheist, death metal guy.
    TremontiAddict
    Not as good as Comatose or Collide, but it tops Awake in my opinion. Not Gonna Die, Salvation, and Circus for a Psycho are really good.
    the chalky one
    My biggest problem with what i've heard so far is, John has a good voice, but it's kinda on the cleaner side rather then the heavy aggressive side; it just sounded like he was just trying a little too hard to be heavy. Plus his wife kinda creeps my out...
    crazysam23_Atax
    His wife plays the keyboard. So, if you mean the other vocalist, that's not his wife.
    the chalky one
    Actually his wife does sing some, mostly in the Comatose album though. But most of the backing vocals now are done by Jen.
    the chalky one
    Jen doesn't creep me out, it's his wife, Korey. I mean, in Awake she kinda looked like a dude, now she seems like half dude half vampire...
    rhodesa5
    Korey is actually a very nice person once you meet her, and get to know who she really is (mainly through Skillet's podcast). By the way, Korey Cooper sings back up (except for Comatose), plays guitar and keyboard, and does the special effects in all of the songs.
    the chalky one
    I didn't say she wasn't a nice person, I just said she kind of creeped me out when I first started listening them.
    sg4ever
    Everyone does realize that Christianity or lyrics pertaining to such has nothing to do with the sound right? Am I just stupid? It sounds softer because they wrote softer songs...simple as that. Oh! Sleeper and August Burns Red...just saying. LOL
    SkilletFan77
    You know, I really enjoyed this album, but get where everyone else is coming from on their opinions, but the one thing I don't get is how people are saying the lyrics are worse than Awake... Really? Should've When You Could've? I mean... Come on.
    sg4ever
    I'm still in my metalcore mode and listening to August Burns Red's newest release. I'm a little scared to try the new Skillet album now...
    Yakisobayum567
    It's a really awesome Rock/Alternative album, there's many new elements, as well as some of the old element prevalent in the old albums. Actually, i'm surprised it got a bad rating, The solos...are.Amazing, it's awesome, my favorite's are Not Gonna Die, Circus For A Psycho, and Fire and Fury, I just got it on Friday so i still have yet to find more favorites. The lyrics to me have most definitely improved, Awake felt to me like they were trying too hard to find a mainstream sound, but it was still enjoyable on most parts. YOu should pick it up, i mean, it's rock/alternative, so i don't know if it'll satisfy the mood your in but it's definitley good
    TryTheKetchup
    This may be not the best album of the year (actually it's really not), but it's still pretty strong thing. Skillet sound like Skillet, but their sound is a bit refreshed by a couple of synth touches and new things (like "Fire and Fury," "Circus for a Psycho" and "My Religion") that really make this album interesting to listen to. But I agree, they haven't moved anywhere in lyric-writing. Good review.
    rhodesa5
    I am loving this album! I think that I've been listening to this album ever since it came out. I love the lyrics, and most of all, Jen Ledger sings a song which a lot of fans have been waiting for! Yes, they are Christians. Don't judge!!!
    takenthecannoli
    Has anyone been bothered by their Christian status? No? Then why do you feel the need to defend it? "Don't judge", honestly.
    RAGman22ReborN
    I liked that they freshened up the sound by 1. restoring some presence of the bass in the mix instead of it being near-nonexistent the way it was in Awake and 2. adding some of the electronic elements that used to be part of their early sound. My BIGGEST gripes are how their lyrics have gotten weaker than what was on the Awake album, too many "hey WWE, put OUR song on your PPV or wrestling program" friendly songs, the excessive processing of Jen's voice (naturally live she founds fine, hence the pointlessness of processing and doctoring a naturally good voice) and what upset me most since Awake? The absence of Korey Cooper's voice. Apparently, new Skillet fans won't really remember or realize that before they shoved Jen into our faces as the female voice, Korey was sharing lines with John and quite frankly, she was way better. I feared their new guitarist's ability until I heard the solos, which were short but sweet. My only thing is that I miss the heavy tone their guitars had in the Collide album -- kind of weird that they use B standard tunings in some songs but lack the thickness and weight that ought to go with it.
    Mikeyrox3162
    I found the album very enjoyable, I feel like a lot of this is very different, but in a good way. Circus For A Psycho shows some aggressive guitar playing that you wouldn't openly expect in my opinion. I personally give this album 9/10
    takenthecannoli
    So you're saying it's almost as good as Dark Side of the Moon or A Night at the Opera.
    tuh hah miss
    I don't think its fair to compare music to other music in that manner. The ratings system shouldn't be relative. Because if that were the case, even extremely well received, award winning recordings should only get a 6 or 7.
    takenthecannoli
    It's not relative. I don't know if you realize this, but you actually just made two contradictory statements. Saying "I don't think it's fair to compare music to other music" would suggest that you prefer a relative system - one that compares only artists of the same genre. Music can all be compared to other music based on its own merits, regardless of genre. If something is good relative to other artists in the genre and something else is not good relative to other artists in its genre, the second one is clearly not good. We do this with books, movies, etc. For example, Casablanca is a phenomenal drama/romance. The Room is a terrible drama/romance. Same genre, right? But The Room (and this is just a very loose example) can also be compared to, say, The Dark Knight. Totally different genre, but good for its genre. Can we not compare TDK and The Room just because they're of different genres? Can we not say that The Room is worse than TDK just because they aren't both drama/romance? Well, if TDK is good for its genre and The Room is bad for its genre, one is already a good movie and one is already bad. Specifics can be picked apart after that, but for you to suggest that we can only compare certain artists is to suggest that one genre deserves special treatment - I'm assuming because, perhaps, you see certain genres as "better". That just isn't true. Pink Floyd - clearly good for its genre. Skillet - not good for its genre. Therefore, Skillet must be significantly worse than Pink Floyd. A system like that *isn't* relative. It is the same across the board. The same standards for each and every artist. Whether a film is drama/romance or action, basically the same things are desired: good writing, good acting, good storytelling/directing. Same with music. Good writing, good composition, compelling "storytelling" or structure. It's this kind of idealism that honestly makes me laugh a little. Music is intellectualized the same as anything else. It's processed through sensory information. Why is it too sacred, then, to compare to other music? QED it's not.
    Omen_666
    I think you're taking it a little too far. But the Idea of comparing Pink Floyd, an established classic to Skillet, who isn't as old or even close to the same direction as Floyd is kind of unrealistic. I don't really care about what rationalism you use to rate albums, for me, a 10 isn't a perfect album, but it's a damn good one. Not everyone sees things eye to eye.
    Morphogenesis26
    Skillet and Pink Floyd are/were trying to achieve different things with their music, no? They seem pretty different outside of using electric guitars, so to compare them wouldn't be very useful. You're right, however, in that you can say one movie is better than another when one is good for what it set out to do and the other is bad for what it set out to do, even though they're entirely different genres, but that's only after you've compared them to movies in their respective genres. I also don't get how you thought his post implied, in any way, that he may view some genres as better than others.
    takenthecannoli
    I didn't take his post to mean one was better. Threw that one in as a side note. No, my point is that the quality of music can objectively be compared to the quality of music of another sort. Again, if a metal band is GREAT and a prog band is GREAT, it's a matter of determining which has more strengths of its genre. If a metal band is less great by its own merits than the great prog band, then clearly the metal band is the lesser band. It works with any genre. There's no reason we can't compare Skillet to Pink Floyd, etc. It's not an "extreme" comparison; there is no such thing. It's just a comparison of the quality of one band to the quality of another. Yes, in this case, PF is clearly vastly better than Skillet, but the point I was trying to make - yes, using broad strokes - is that the comparison is possible in the first place. If you want to take a less "extreme" route, it's pretty easy to argue that Portugal. the Man is better than Skillet, or even Goldfinger or whomsoever. Omen also kind of lost a bit of legroom with "I don't care what kind of rationalization you use". Well...that's kind of the point of a declarative (or persuasive, depending) essay, which is what a review is. Rationalization. It's like being a lawyer; presenting the facts and why things are one way or another.
    BwareDWare94
    What if what is deemed "good" in American society (especially on the music front) is by no means good? The same goes for literature. The majority of Americans like shitty music and shitty literature. It's hardly subjective, at this point.
    BenjaminFields
    hahaha. Never heard of this band but caught this at the AvClub today: http://www.avclub.com/articles/people-st... "...Those 65,000 copies sold landed West the No. 3 spot on this week's Billboard charts, behind Wale's No. 1 The Gifted and J. Cole's steadily performing Born Sinner at No. 2. Shitty Christian rock band Skillet came in fourth with its eighth studio album, Rise, 60,000 copies of which were sold to people with no taste."
    SGofawesome
    For someone who grew up with Skillet on Collide and Comatose, this album is extremely disappointing and sounds like Skillet is trying to accommodate to their new-found radio success. 4/10 for me.
    Blazingguns00
    Disagree, i think its their strongest album yet, obviously not on par with 13 for one, but the lyrics werent THAT bad.. It was an enjoyable listen and has had a couple of plays already, definitely will be listening back to this
    Vauxite
    This is probably the worst thing they've ever done.. How this is getting the reviews it is is beyond me.
    Vauxite
    Seriously, Comatose was leaps and bounds ahead of this.
    Omen_666
    Quit with the circlejerking, I understand you didn't like this. Everyone's entitled to their word and all but there are people who genuinely enjoy it even if you don't. The album wasn't great, and nobody is screaming from the heavens that it is. It seems to be an agreement that this is an okay album, even if it isn't what we waited for.
    anguyen92
    Well, for me personally, I found this to be the most enjoyable album I have listened to this year though I can understand the gripes and issues that people could have with Skillet and Rise. I agree 100% with the reviewer on the "This album comes recommended to established Skillet fans, as well as general fans of the alternative metal genre."
    rhodesa5
    That's so true. Especially because Jen Ledger lead sings in one of the songs. Which is what a lot of fans have been wanting Skillet to do.
    sg4ever
    Hmmm. Circus For A Psycho is a catchy song, and the new lead guitarist is technically much more advanced than Ben. He is much, much more advanced...
    crazysam23_Atax
    Just looked up "Not Gonna Die" on Youtube. He does a nice, tasteful yet technical solo. It's short but fitting. The lead intro/riff on "Circus for a Psycho", while not overly complex, is certainly not something I'd have seen Ben doing. (He also does a solo on that song.) Frankly, a guitar player who actually does tasty solo is ok with me.
    Nero Galon
    I think i've grown out of this band and similar bands. Must have got into these when I was around 13, along with other bands like Three Days Grace, RED, Breaking Benjamin etc. Comatose was a great album, one that I could probably listen to on occasions but the majority of bands in the genre or with a similar sound fail to satisfy me now.
    blackbird9209
    While this album has some iffy moments ("Sick of It" and "Madness in Me" come to mind), it's still enjoyable. The music is actually good enough for me to look past the lyrics. Is this Comatose? No. I mean really, what exactly were we expecting? It's still good in it's own right, in my opinion. Really digging "Salvation" and "Circus For A Psycho" at the moment.
    MusicMan24
    Musically, they've always been an outstanding band (Talent-wise). Though lyrically they're always gonna be kinda meh. This is a good record, a typical Skillet record with some new, interesting synth sounds mixed in. This definitely isn't the record of the year, but is a great listen.
    igo147
    As a big fan of mixing orchestra, electronics and rock, I have to say I really enjoyed some of the intros/verses, the choruses are usually a bit predictable. I wish they would focus on their heavy/symphonic/melodic songs like "Not Gonna Die" more, instead of the mid-tempo kick-snare-kick-snare type songs. And I feel there's too much auto-tune, especially on Jen's vocals. Otherwise, it's a pretty enjoyable album, I'd say 6/10 is fair.
    Countdownguitar
    This isn't my favourite Skillet album, Comatose was way better and Awake was leaps and bounds above that. It has some good songs on it buuuut, it kinda went back to the christian side which kinda ruined it for me. I want it to go back to the Monster type sounds, very hard rock.
    TremontiAddict
    Awake wasn't really heavier than this album as a whole. Don't Wake Me, Believe, Forgiven, Never Surrender, and Lucy were all mellow songs, and that's nearly half the album. If you want heavy Skillet, check out Collide if you haven't. That album along with Comatose are my favorites as I said in an earlier comment. But I personally felt Rise was an improvement over Awake.
    igo147
    Btw anyone else noticed that the chorus of the bonus track "Battle Cry" sounds just like "Can't fight the moonlight"?